January 22, 2018

During Respect Life Week, St. Gerard Majella: the patron of unborn children and expectant mothers, will be very busy.

St. Gerard Majella      Nashastudiya | CC BY SA 4.0

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

*This article appeared in Aleteia 1/21/2018

The Annual March for Life will take place in Washington. D.C. on Friday, January 19. Tens upon tens of thousands will march in defense of the unborn. Many expectant women, unsure of their situation, will not.   If you are one of them you might turn to St. Gerard Majella, the Patron Saint of Unborn Children and Expectant Mothers. Many a miracle has been attributed to this young man’s intercession.

Gerard was the youngest child born to Domenico and Benedetta Majella. They already had three daughters and Gerard was their only son. The date was April 6, 1726. The Majellas were a hard-working Italian family and, Benedetta, brought her children to Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces as often as she could. Gerard, only three, loved the statue of the “pretty lady with the baby.”

When Gerard got a bit older, he would run off to the shrine by himself. The first time he came home he yelled out, “Mama, mama, see what I got from the little boy.” In his hand, he held a small roll of bread. No one paid much attention but after several days of coming home with bread, his mom decided to follow him and see what he was up to.

What she saw stunned her because the statue of Our Lady of Graces apparently came to life and the Child she was holding scampered down to play with Gerard. She quickly left and , sure enough, when Gerard came home he had another small loaf of bread with him. Benedetta kept this to herself.

Gerard’s dad died when the boy was twelve, and the family was left in poverty. Gerard’s father had been a tailor so his mom sent him to her brother so Gerard could learn to sew and be a tailor like his father. However, after a four-year apprenticeship, Gerard was offered the job as a servant for the local Bishop of Lacedonia. Needing the money, he took the position.

The Bishop kept hearing stories about Gerard and his kindness, and how he would always stop and visit the poor in the clinic, how he always helped others and would even bring the poor leftovers from the bishop’s table. The young man was gaining a reputation just by being himself.

When the Bishop passed away, Gerard returned to his trade as a tailor. He divided his earnings among his mother, the poor and in offerings for the souls in purgatory. By the time he was 21 years-old, he had established a steady business. His mom was quite worried about her son. He looked thin and frail because he was always fasting and doing penance. She begged him to eat, and he told her, “Mama, God will provide. As for me, I want to be a saint.”

Gerard tried to join the Capuchins, but they thought him to sickly to endure the demands of the order. Finally, after much pleading and nagging, he was accepted as a lay brother into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer aka the Redemptorists.

As a lay brother he would never be a priest, say Mass or hear confessions. He would live under the same roof and wear the same habit and share the prayers. He also would take the vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. He would be a caretaker to the monastery. He embraced this role and served them well acting as gardener, sacristan, porter, cook, carpenter and, of course, the tailor.

But there was always the children. They flocked to Gerard to hear his amazing stories and learn how to pray. Once, when a large group was sitting around listening to him, a little boy fell off a cliff. When they reached the child, they thought he was dead. Gerard said to the boy's father, “It is nothing.”  Then he traced a cross on the boy's forehead, and he awoke. It was just one of Gerard’s many miracles that were witnessed by people.

 Gerard had tuberculosis and died on October 16, 1755 . He was 29 years-old. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession. One stands out as the reason he has come to be known as the patron of mothers. A few months before his death he was visiting a family. He dropped his handkerchief, and one of the girls picked it up to return it to him. He told her to keep it for one day she would need it.

Years later, as a married woman, she was about to give birth and the doctor was sure the child would not survive. She remembered the handkerchief and asked for it. When she held it to her womb, the pain disappeared and she gave birth to a healthy baby. There was no explanation.

In 1893 Pope Leo XIII beatified Gerard. And on December 11, 1904, Pope St. Pius X canonized him in Rome. He was now St. Gerard Majella.

St. Gerard;  please pray for all those pre-born children in danger of losing their lives and for all expectant moms everywhere.

                                      copyright©Larry Peterson 2018

December 29, 2017

Greeting the New Year---the Catholic Way*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018   courtesy updatepedia.com

By Larry Peterson

According to Georgetown University , as of October 2017, there are 1.28 billion Catholics in the world. 70.4 million of them are in the United States. The USA has a population of approximately 330,000,000 people. That works out to about 22% of the American population being Catholic.

From the Pope down to the vagrant, each of us is an individual creation made by God. We are all unique. Incredibly, we will all be judged individually. And, as Catholics, we will be held to a higher standard. After all, we proclaim to be part of the Mystical Body of Christ which is filled with the deposit of faith. No matter how we lived our lives, the common denominator for all of us will be; How much we loved each other and our neighbor.

Based on that, here are some points to consider if we focus on, before all else, pleasing God in the New Year, the Catholic Way:
ü  Never forget that you are God’s individual creation and therefore a gift He has bestowed on the world. Be humbled by the fact that He does have you in the palm of His hand. Without Him you are nothing.
ü  Be happy with who and what you are. God made you and loves you. If you feel you need to change to please Him, you can do it. Just ask for His help.
ü  The choices you make are your responsibility. Sometimes our choices hurt us. Embrace them and learn from them and move on. Thank God for the experience.
ü  Sometimes NOT getting what you want or what you think you need is a blessing. If you trust God, you will thank Him. When “one door closes another opens.”
ü  Always count your blessings---not your troubles.
ü  Always do your best. The “best” is all God expects from each of us.
ü  You can make it through whatever comes along.
ü  Prayer is the most powerful of weapons and can be your greatest ally in all diversity.
ü  Don’t take things too seriously---especially yourself.
ü  The key to happiness is to give of yourself, not to “get’ for yourself.
ü  Miracles happen; you are one---I am one—we all are one.
ü  Temptation is everywhere. It is okay to say “NO.”
ü  Finally, never fail to help a neighbor, whoever it may be---even a stranger.

We all will experience “highs and lows” during the coming year. As Catholics, we have the armor of the church to shield us and the angels and saints to help us fight our battles with the evil one.
St. Michael the Archangel will always ‘defend us in battle”. St. Anthony will help us find lost items. St. Jude will help us through seemingly impossible barricades. Good St. Joseph is ready to help all men be good fathers and husbands. St. Monica will help moms and St. Dymphna will help those with experiencing emotional difficulties or suffering from Alzheimer's disease. And, of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary is always there for all of us.

Virtually every day of the calendar year honors a particular saint, and that saint has been assigned a special task; such as St. Padre Pio who is the patron of adolescents and volunteers or St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyred in the Holocaust, who is the patron of drug addicts. Help is always available when you are Catholic.

Lastly, we have in place for our salvation the most beautiful thing this side of heaven; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We can actually be at the foot of the Cross and then witness the resurrection. It is there for all of us every day if we so CHOOSE. Then there are the sacraments, always available to build us up and restore us to where we should be.

Yes—being Catholic is very cool. We even have the Rosary.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2018 --“No Fear”

                                       copyright©Larry Peterson 2017


This article also appeared in Aleteia on December 29,2017

December 27, 2017

Francis Delalieu; A Good Samaritan--He saved a future Servant of God and her family from death and then he seemingly vanished.

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

The Good Samaritan  en.wikipedia.org
By Larry Peterson

One of the most famous Gospel readings is from Luke, Ch 10: 29-37; we all know it as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. When Jesus is asked which of the three was a neighbor to the robber's victim, Jesus said, "The one who treated him with mercy. Go and do likewise."  What follows is about someone who may be one of the greatest of  Good Samaritans of all time, a man we know almost nothing about.

Servant of God and Stigmatist; Anna Louise Lateau, passed away at the age of thirty-three. What is extremely interesting is the fact that Anna Louise would never have lived into her fourth month of life if it wasn't for a stranger whose name was Francis Delalieu.

The Lateau family was literally near death. The father, Gregory,  had died from smallpox just three months after Louise had been born. Adele, with three little children, was still bedridden after having a very rough time giving birth to Louise. Louise, still an infant, had also contracted smallpox. The oldest child, Rosina, was trying to be the in-house caregiver which included taking care of two-year-old Adelina.

The local doctor, overwhelmed with this smallpox epidemic, had stopped by about a week after Gregory's death to check on the family. He did his best to show three-year-old Rosina what to do. He knew it was hopeless and was sure he would soon come by and find them all dead. He told his friend, Francis Delalieu, about the family.

Try to imagine how this newly widowed, mother of three babies with no money was feeling. The despair and hopelessness must have been unbearable as she watched her three children quietly dying before her eyes. Weakened to a point where she was unable to get out of her bed, she was probably just praying that she would not be the first to die, leaving them alone. And suddenly the front door opened and there was Francis Delalieu. God was listening after all.

Francis immediately took charge. First, he cleaned up the children. Then he reassured them and left to acquire food and necessities. This man, this stranger, surely had the love of Jesus in his heart. He was risking his own life by being in a smallpox-infected household. He was spitting into the eye of the storm as he cleaned, fed and cared for the little children. This was, after all, 1850 and not 2017. They did not even have running water.

I have been (as have many others) a primary caregiver to someone seriously ill. Some caregivers are helping to nurse their loved one back to health after a serious surgery or accident. The upside to this type of caregiving is that an end is in sight because a reachable goal is possible ie; recovering from open heart surgery.

Then there is the alternative of caring for someone who is terminally ill. The goal in these cases is to help your loved one live as peacefully and as comfortable as possible until God calls them home. And then you have a person like Francis Delalieu. The only possible motivation he might have had to step into this situation was that of a Good Samaritan. He simply LOVED his neighbor.

Who was this man? Who was this stranger who came into a household that was a breeding ground for smallpox and had three babies with a bedridden mom living there who were near death? Who does this kind of thing simply out of kindness and compassion? Who would stay for almost two and a half years until the mother and children were once again healthy? Francis Delalieu is that person. There are many like him but most are unheralded and unheard of.

All we can seem to find out about Francis Delalieu is that he was a farmhand or a laborer and that he lived in or around the small town of Bois d' Haine, in Belgium. That is about it. It is known he took  Adele Lateau and her children under his care and nurtured them all until they were well. After that period of time Francis seems to have vanished. At least there is no record of him after that point in time which would be around 1853.

Anna Louise Lateau was gifted with the Stigmata in the year 1868. For the rest of her life, her nourishment was only the Holy Eucharist and a few glasses of water per day. She became one of the most famous stigmatists of the 19th century. Francis Delalieu was just an unknown man who stepped up and took care of his neighbor, just like the Good Samaritan in Jesus parable. I am sure his reward has been great in heaven. When God is involved, all things are possible.


                                    Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

December 18, 2017

I am a Grandpa and YES! Just like Francis P. Church, I Believe in Santa, too

photo courtesy  hollywoodreporter.com


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Most folks do not know much about a man by the name of Francis Pharcellus Church. Heck, most people have never even heard of him. However, to me, he is one of the greatest newspaper editors of all time. That is because he took on a skeptical world and dared try to prove the existence of Santa Claus.

Francis Church was born in Rochester, New York, on February 22, 1839. At the age of 21, he graduated from Columbia College (now Columbia University). Francis had considered a career in law but opted instead for a life in journalism.

During the Civil War, he worked as a war correspondent. Together, with his brother, William, he worked on The Army and Navy Journal.  In 1869 Francis and William launched a literary publication called Galaxy Magazine. Contributors to Galaxy included Mark Twain and Henry James. But it was his position at the  NewYork Sun that would propel him to fame. And all he had to do was reach into his heart and write what he was feeling and believing.

A letter had arrived at the editorial office of the New York Sun. The letter read: Dear Editor---I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it is so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon  115 W. 95th St.


Francis P. Church just happened to be the lead editorial writer for the paper. He had a reputation as a man who was cynical, was an agnostic, and overall, more or less a grouch. Ironically, he was given the task to answer. 

What follows is the exact letter written by Francis Pharcellus Church and printed in The New York Sun on September 21, 1897. 



    Father Christmas  postcard circa 1919

Is There A Santa Claus?
From the editorial page of The New York Sun
September 21, 1897
_______________________________________________
Dear Editor---I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN, it’s so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 W. 95th St.
_______________________________________________
Dear Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes Virginia, there isa Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen andunseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and  picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives! And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten time ten thousand years from now , he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Francis Pharcellus Church, a cynic, and grouch, latched onto a hidden faith and gave Virginia and all those children from 1897 and after,  the joy of believing in Santa Claus. I think that Santa is God’s Christmas angel and HE allows him to do his thing every Christmas Eve. Go ahead; I dare you---prove me wrong. 

 MERRY CHRISTMAS
MERRY CHRISTMAS
                                            copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

Hanukkah—We Catholics should give this sacred Jewish Holiday more respect

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


Menorah   en.wikipedia.org

 By Larry Peterson


The great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th.  In 2017 there is also another great religious holiday that commences on that same day. We Catholic/Christians hardly ever notice this day even though it is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday in the United States. I refer to Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah). Hanukkah ends at sundown on Wednesday, December 20.

Virtually all of our faith is rooted in Judaism. Jesus was called “rabbi” and taught in the temple. St. Joseph was a “righteous Jew” who practiced his faith diligently abiding by the rules as best he could.  Our dear Blessed Mother was a Jewish girl given over to the temple hierarchy at the age of three. 

When the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer #1) is used by the priest offering Mass, “Abraham, our father in faith” is mentioned right after the consecration. Yes, our Catholic faith is most definitely descended from Judaism (no need to mention the Apostles).

What follows is about Hanukkah and some of the history and customs behind it. It is also meant to question why so many of us Catholic/Christians do not appreciate the profound connection between Judaism and Catholicism. Let us begin with the Bible and John 10: 22-35. This begins with the Feast of the Dedication. This is known today as the Festival of Lights aka Hanukkah. Verse 35 has Jesus saying, “---and scripture cannot be set aside---.”

In our Catholic Bible the Old Testament, 1 Maccabees 4:59,  reads; Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of dedication of the altar should be observed
with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days from the 25th day of  the month of Chislev.” This is today’s Hanukkah. And John has Jesus referring to it in his gospel. Jesus was celebrating Hanukkah. It follows that if Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, we Catholic/Christians owe it some respect.

Here is some basic information about Hanukkah:

.Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights”. This holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple after Judah Maccabee and his brothers liberated Judea from pagan domination.

.The Menorah is a candelabra with a new candle lit each day of the celebration. The Catholic connection to Hanukkah lies in the fact that this Holiday comes from 1 and 2 Maccabees. These books are not in the Hebrew Bible or the Protestant (King James) Bible. But they are in the Catholic and Orthodox Bible.

.Gelt is Yiddish for coins. Gelt has been part of Hanukkah observances for centuries. Today, chocolate is often substituted for gold coins. There are those who say that chocolate gelt is similar to the European tradition of exchanging gold-covered chocolate coins in honor of the miracles of St. Nicholas.

.In 2013, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah joined together on the same day, November 28. It was so unusual for this to happen they even had turkey-shaped menorahs in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. For many of today’s millennials, they may still be around when this clash of Holidays happens again. That will happen on November 27, 2070. As for me, I probably will miss that parade.


The following two (or three) blessings are said each night before the menorah is lit. Note the similarity to our Offertory prayers said over the bread and wine.

1) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

2) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

 3) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

HAPPY HANUKKAH and MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone.

                                        copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

.




December 5, 2017

Saints Flora and Mary--Betrayed by their Families and Martyred for their Faith

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Many people have suffered the heartache and pain of being betrayed by someone close them, oftentimes a family member. There is a saint we can all turn to for spiritual and moral support when or if this ever happens to us. Her name is Flora and she and her best friend, Mary, died together for the faith they loved.

During the 9th century, the Muslims invaded and conquered large parts of what is today, Spain. One area was known as Al-Andalus. It was from this conquered area where forty-eight Christians were put to death for their faith. These are known as the Martyrs of Cordoba. These people were executed from 851 to 859. They were all convicted of violating Sharia law, their crimes ranging from apostasy to blasphemy (apostasy is proclaiming another faith other than Islam and blasphemy is denouncing Muhammad or anything Muslim. All carry the death penalty).

Among these brave Christians who stood tall for their faith while knowingly facing such horrendous consequences were two young women; one was named Flora, the other, Maria.

Flora's was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mom. When she was still a child her father died and her mom raised her as a Christian. She had an older brother who was Muslim and as she grew older he tried to convert her to Islam.  Flora was adamant that she would not turn against Jesus. Her brother, exasperated, turned her into the authorities. Flora was sent to a prison and a Muslim scholar was assigned to convert her to Islam. Somehow Flora escaped and made her way to Christian settlements.

During this same time, Mary had been born to a Christian father, who was also a deacon in the church, and a Muslim mom. Her mom had been baptized a short time after getting married. Mary's parents, fearing being charged as "apostates", left their home and headed to a town considered a safer place, Fronianus.  It was shortly thereafter that Mary's mother died.

Mary's dad, fearful for his daughter's safety, sent her to a convent in a place called Cuteclara. While praying at St. Acislus Church she met Flora, who arrived around the same time. They had much in common. Flora's Muslim brother wanted to have her killed as an apostate. Mary's dad had just been executed.

A genuine and deep friendship quickly developed between the two young women and they became inseparable.  The convent's Mother Superior told Maria how her two sons were executed by the Muslims thirty years earlier and how they had made her watch them as they suffered and died. Maria was horrified and the story was foremost in her thoughts. Flora and Mary, fortified by their profound Christian faith and the strength they shared through their deep friendship, decided to turn themselves into the Muslim authorities. They would suffer and die together for Jesus.

In the culture of that time to be branded a prostitute was considered worse than death. The Muslim court, in an attempt to break the two women, sentenced them to a brothel so they would have to endure the shame and humiliation of being a prostitute. Flora and Maria never wavered from their values and faith. They were beaten and scourged but never gave in. The authorities gave up and they were taken out and beheaded. Both girls are listed in the Roman Martyrology.

St. Flora is known as the patron saint of those who have been betrayed. After her dad passed on Flora's own brother tried to convert her to Islam and, having failed, turned her over to the authorities knowing full well she would be put to death. I cannot imagine having my own brother turn me in knowing I would suffer death at the hands of an executioner. Flora did pray for her brother before she was killed. A role model of forgiveness for us all

                                 copyright ©Larry Peterson 2017

November 20, 2017

St. Margaret of Scotland--This Remarkable, Pious Woman, is Patroness to Mothers, Large Families, Widows and Deceased Children

St. Margaret of Scotland   en.wikipedia.org

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

In the year 1066, a displaced English princess, named Margaret, sought refuge in Scotland. Her father had been overthrown by the Danes and before she was born had gone into exile. While still very young  Margaret returned to England to live in the court of her great-uncle, Edward the Confessor.

A weak leader, Edward could not protect his kingdom. Margaret's mother, Agatha, took Margaret and her other two children, Edgar and Cristina, and fled north to escape the invading Norman armies.  It was not long after that the Normans conquered England and overthrew Edward. He was replaced by William of Normandy aka William the Conqueror.

Tradition has it that Agatha decided to leave northern England and travel back to the continent. However, a raging storm drove their ship north to Scotland where they landed at a spot which is today called St. Margaret's Hope. Before long they all arrived at the palace of King Malcolm.

 Margaret, about eighteen years of age at the time, soon found herself in the court of  Malcolm III of Scotland (also known as Malcolm the  Canmore, meaning "Great Chief").  Malcolm III was already a widower with two sons.  (And yes, this is the Malcolm in Shakespeare's, Macbeth).

Margaret was not only naturally sweet and charming, she was also a pious and devout Catholic. King Malcolm fell completely in love with her and they were married in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1070. One of the first things Margaret began to do was to read the Bible to her new husband. It is said the daily readings and stories she read to her husband helped "civilize" the king, setting in place the conditions for the growth of the Catholic faith in Scotland.

Margaret initiated religious reforms striving to make the church practices conform to those of Rome. She followed the advice of the future Archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, and became known as an exemplar of the "just ruler" which was her husband and children. Their youngest son, David, grew up to be considered a "holy ruler'".

Margaret became deeply involved in charitable works and actually served orphans and the poor every day before she herself, ate. She even washed the feet of the poor in imitation of Jesus. At midnight she would get up and attend church services. She invited the Benedictine order to establish a monastery at Dunfermline in 1072 and was responsible for having ferries built to assist pilgrims traveling back and forth across the river to worship. Margaret also initiated the restoration of the monastery at Iona and was responsible for the release of fellow English exiles, captured during the invasion.

Margaret was as devout in her private life as she was in public. She was totally "genuine". Much of her time was spent in prayer, devotional readings, and doing ecclesiastical embroidery. All of her hard work and devotion to God had a profound effect on her once volatile husband. The king who could not read was so impressed with his wife he had her prayer books decorated with gold and silver. One of these, a pocket gospel with grand pictures of the evangelists, is kept at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Malcolm never understood the long-term effects of his wife's many endeavors. He loved her so much he just let her do as she wished. However, heartache came to Margaret unexpectedly. During the Battle of Alnwick on November 13, 1093 Malcolm and their eldest son, Edward,  were killed in battle against the English. Margaret's son, Edgar, had the unenviable task of informing his mom.

Her constant fasting and offering of herself to Jesus had taken its toll. Not yet fifty, she died three days after her husband and son were killed. In recognition of her personal holiness, fidelity to the Church, implementing religious reform and her ongoing works of charity, Pope Innocent IV, canonized Margaret a saint in June of 1250.

  In  Proverbs 31: 10-12,   Lemuel, King of Massa, was given this advice by his Mother:
"When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life."
King Malcolm III of Scotland had such a wife.

St. Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.

                                        Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017 All Rights Reserved

November 17, 2017

The "Doorkeeper" ---If I could be at Ford Field, I would definitely “take a knee”.

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


Blessed Solanus Casey---en.wikimedia. org
By Larry Peterson

On November 18, 2017, a great event will take place at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, the home-field of the NFL's, Detroit Lions. Upward of 70, 000 people are expected to fill the stadium and they are not going to be there for a football game. Millions from around the world will be watching the event on television or whatever type of device they may have and they will not be tuned into the World Cup. This will be the largest Catholic event to take place in Detroit in 30 years. And, more than likely,  this event will receive barely a mention by the Mainstream Media. It is the way of things in 2017.

It does not matter. It does not matter because this day transcends any political motivation or bias. This is the beatification ceremony for Venerable Solanus Casey.  This is the day we celebrate a working man who, against all odds, became a priest and will enter the final chapter on his road to being canonized a saint, an American born saint.  This simple, unpretentious man, known as the "Doorkeeper",  was the kindly priest who shed his ego so he might serve others. This was not a birth defect. Rather, like all those elevated through the process of sainthood, he had that beautiful quality of foremost loving God before all else---no matter what.

  The sixth child of sixteen children,  Bernard Francis Casey,  was born to poor, Irish immigrants in Oak Grove, Wisconsin, 1870. His family and friends called him Barney. When Barney was a young boy he contracted diphtheria and this left him with a permanently raspy sounding voice. Barney was never going to be a singer but that never mattered to him. he had always felt the calling to the priesthood. Unfortunately, there was a 'bump' in the road for Barney. He had to go to work to help support the family.

Barney Casey did what he had to do to earn money. He worked as a lumberjack, a prison guard, a streetcar operator and even as a hospital orderly. He did whatever job he had to the best of his ability always keeping his serving God as his primary goal. Consequently, his education was put on hold and it took him five years to get back to high school. When he did it was at St. Francis High school seminary in Milwaukee. He spent five years studying before being able to join the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. When he was accepted he took the name Solanus, after St. Francis Solanus.

Brother Solanus became Father Solanus Casey at the age of 33. He had to fight to get through his studies but he managed. However, upon ordination, he was given the title, "Sacerdos Simplex", which means, simple priest. He would not be allowed to preach or hear confessions. Father Casey never complained. 

For more than 20 years Father Casey lived at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit. His primary job was that of "doorkeeper". He became the finest "Doorkeeper" who ever lived and, unexpectedly, also became known for his service to the sick and for the advice he would give to the visitors who came by. After a while, people began attributing cures and other blessings to Father Casey's interaction with them. 

Father Solanus Casey died in 1957. He was a man who opened and closed doors for people. A man who had no ego and was happy to serve God in the simplest of ways. A man who, because miracles have been attributed to his intercession, will be Beatified before tens of thousands of people in a football stadium on November 18, 2017, while millions more around the globe will watch the ceremony via televison. If I could be at Ford Field, I would definitely “take a knee”.

Blessed Solanus Casey, please pray for us. And THANK YOU for your wonderful example of how to live.


                                      copyright©LarryPeterson 2017

November 12, 2017

A Bit of History for the Younger Folks on Veteran’s Day; The Introduction of “God Bless America”

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


by Larry Peterson


Back in 1940, there were no televisions or laptops or iPads. The United States was on the brink of being brought into World War II.  The word “cyber” was not even invented. But there was the radio and that was how the nation received its evening entertainment. Newspapers were trusted and that was the primary news source.

Frank Sinatra was the heartthrob of the teenage girls of the day and many of the young folk listened to him. Well, when Frank heard Miss Kate Smith sing the song, “God Bless America” for the first time on the radio he declared that Kate Smith was, without a doubt, the best singer of her time. In fact, it is said that when the song was heard for the first time most of the men in America were wiping tears from their eyes.

America was still in the throes of The Great Depression, Hitler had conquered Poland and was seemingly about to conquer all of Europe. Most Americans were afraid our boys would soon be fighting in that war. The nation was worried and financially struggling. After supper, the family would gather around the radio set and tune in their favorite serial or variety show. At that time no one was a bigger star than Kate Smith.

Kate was a patriotic woman as were most Americans of that time. She had a desire to do something to bolster the mood of the country. She turned to her friend, one of the great American songwriters of all time, Irving Berlin, and asked him if he could write a song to help “cheer the country up”. Mr. Berlin (so the story goes) smiled at her, went to his files and pulled out a song he had written 22 years earlier, in 1917. He handed it to her and said, “I have waited all these years for the right moment to release this. This is that moment.”

Both Kate and Irving Berlin had no idea how the song would be received but decided that if any money was made it would be given to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years millions of dollars in royalties have gone to the Boy Scouts.

Anyway, what follows is the actual presentation of Kate Smith introducing the great American song, “God Bless America”. This song still arouses patriotic feelings and pride about our country when we hear it. “Here is the link to the video of Kate Smith introducing for the very first time “God Bless America”  (click on the highlighted words)



                                        copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

November 11, 2017

The Knights of Columbus---On Veteran’s Day all Knights Proudly Count Among their Brothers these Medal of Honor Recipients

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


The Knights of Columbus officially became a fraternal Catholic society on March 29, 1882. Founded by Father Michael McGivney and some of the parishioners at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut, the organization was started for the purpose of providing aid, both spiritual and corporal, to members and their families. Most of them at the time were poor immigrants.

Today the Knights of Columbus has grown from a few members, who had their first meeting in the basement of St. Mary’s, to an organization that is the largest Catholic fraternal order in the world with 15,342 councils and almost 2 million members spread around the planet.

The four tenets of the Knights of Columbus are Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. Since it is Veteran’s Day in America, this article will focus on Patriotism. Members of the Knights call each other “Brother”. We are all Brother Knights (myself included) and the following Brother Knights exemplified their Patriotism above and beyond the call of duty. They were all recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Congressional Medal(s) of Honor


Marine Sergeant; Daniel Joseph Daly:  1873-1937 Awarded the Medal of Honor TWICE;  In 1900 he received his first Medal of Honor during the Boxer rebellion. He single-handedly repelled repeated attacks on his position while inflicting close to two hundred casualties on the enemy. His second Medal of Honor came during the Battle of Fort Dipite in Haiti as he led 35 of his men against a force of 400 rebels managing to get his men and himself to a nearby fort. Sergeant Daly was a member of  Knights of Columbus Council #472 in Middle Village (Queens), N.Y.

 Sgt. Daniel Joseph Daly*
Major Charles Watters*
Father (Major) Charles J. Watters: 1927-1967  On November 19, 1967, during a battle near Dak To in Viet Nam, Chaplain Watters, unarmed and without regard to his own life, tended to the wounded and dying while in close combat with the enemy. He persevered in his mission until he lost his own life in the battle. Major Watters was a member of Knights of 
Columbus Council #1638 in Rutherford, N.J. 

Major General Patrick Brady*

Major General Patrick Brady: 1936—age 81   General Brady did two tours of duty in Viet Nam. The first was from 1964 thru 1965 when he piloted a Medical Helicopter Ambulance. During his second tour, from 1967 to 1968, Brady was second in command of the 54th Medical detachment. It was during this time that he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Into thick fog and heavy enemy gunfire, Major Brady flew four separate times into the area to rescue seriously wounded men.  He wound up using three different helicopters during the course of the day and rescued fifty-one wounded men many who would have died without medical attention.  He retired as a Major General in 1993...The General is a member of Knights of Columbus Council #11948 in Tacoma, Washington.

Captain Gary Michael Rose*

Captain Gary Michel Rose: 1947—age 70   Captain Rose (at the time Sergeant Rose) was a member of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). On September 11, 1970, Sergeant Rose and a company of soldiers were sent behind enemy lines in Laos. The men moved deeper into enemy territory and came under intense fire. Sergeant Rose, crawled from man to man treating the wounded and dying without regard for his own safety. Hit by shrapnel in his back legs and feet he continued on using a stick as a crutch while treating the wounded. Captain Gary Rose is a member of Knights of Columbus Council # 11672, Huntsville, Alabama.


Captain Emil Kapaun: 1916-1951 Emil Joseph Kapaun, was a Catholic priest who served as a chaplain in World War II and in Korea.  He was declared a Servant of God by Pope St. John Paul II in 1993.   He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in Korea in 1950. 

During the Battle of Unsan in 1950, Chinese troops entered the war and overwhelmed the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry. The prisoners (including Father Kapaun), were marched 87 miles to a makeshift prison camp. He was the unifier and morale keeper at the camp. He would dig latrines, give away his meager rations, and talk to and counsel the prisoners doing his best to keep their spirits intact. He was also the one who insisted on ‘stealing’ tea and other scraps of food so the others would not get caught and executed.  He even smuggled medicines to the doctor among them, Sidney Esensten.
Father Kapaun offering Mass in Korea, 1950



Captain Chaplain Emil Kapaun was a member of Knights of Columbus Council,#3423 in Pilsen, Kansas.  In addition, Knights of Columbus Council # 14218 in Fort Riley, Kansas is named in his honor. Emil Kapaun;  Knights of Columbus Assembly 2711 in Katy, Texas is also named after him as is Fourth Degree Assembly 3260 in Vail, Arizona.




 Father Michael McGivney--Founder of the Knights of Columbus
Father McGivney died at the age of 38 when the K of C was only eight-years-old. In 1996 he was declared a Servant of God and his cause for sainthood was sent to Rome. In March of 2008, Pope Benedict XVI, declared Father McGivney, “Venerable”, in recognition of his “heroic virtue”. The next step in the process will be Beatification


To Brother Knight, Venerable Michael McGivney, please pray for us all.

To Brother Knight, Servant of God, Emil Kapaun,  please pray for us also.


*All photos from Wikipedia commons.org

                                       Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017